Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The Third Apparition and Independent Voters: Whither Bound in 2013?

Amid the dwindling attention in the media to independent voters after President Obama's re-election in November (below see who won independents' votes in 2012), I'm drawn to re-read Jacqueline Salit's Obama and Independents: The Micro, the Macro and the Forest -- A Post Election Independent Analysis addressed in memo form on IndependentVoting.org's website to The IndependentVoting.org Networks dated November 9, 2012...

In her memo, Salit observes that, "The Obama campaign team did everything right... An impressive operation... Amazing technology and our obsession with data, fused with the time-tested political machinery of the political parties, has produced a slice-and-dice culture of campaigning where the "micro" rules and where the geeks are inheriting the earth. Or, at least they're helping the parties maintain control of it." (Emphasis added.) It's an important piece and I highly recommend reading -- or re-reading it!

Below you will see a number of articles and opinion pieces that highlight some of the fall-out from the 2012 national election relative to independent voters. For regular readers of The Hankster, you  know that I seldom agree with the powers-that-be.  To paraphrase a close independent political colleague/activist here in NYC, "Pundits rate one step below Politicians when it comes to reflecting the desires of ordinary people!"

Not to give away the ending, but Salit opines: "In Act IV, Scene I, the Third Apparition tells Shakespeare's Macbeth he will never be vanquished "until Great Birnam wood ... shall come against him." In other words, until the forest itself comes to Macbeth's fortress. Macbeth is comforted because he believes that could never occur. Of course, it eventually does. Which is one reason why it's never a good idea to take your eyes off the forest"

I think it's important for us grassroots independent activists to keep up with the trends, the players, the successes and failures of the partisan system, well... yes, the drama of it all!

Hope you are having a wonderful 2013! See you from the forest soon!!

  • Holy Grail of Voters - Although independent voters have stolen the spotlight, people who describe themselves as moderates could be even more important. (By Charlie Cook. National Journal) The point of all of this is not to be dismissive of the importance of independent voters and obsessed with moderates, but to show that both of those groups matter and that either party that ignores either of those sectors does so at its own peril.
  • The disappearing independent (By Lois Romano POLITICO.com, on Arizona Central) “Moderates is a better way to define the people who swing back and forth … and those are the people who you’re going to fight over,” said Obama campaign manager Jim Messina at a recent POLITICO Playbook breakfast, when asked if the notion of independents deciding elections was passé. And by that definition, Messina claims that Obama prevailed with swing voters by 15 percentage points.
  • Thomas D. Elias: Parties ignore voter registration trends (Appeal Democrat) All of which explains why changes like the "top two" primary system, adopted via ballot initiative in 2010 and used for the first time last year, are so popular. Anything depriving the major parties of some influence or promising more independent politicians will draw significant, often majority, support here.
  • Virginia Governor's Race Highlights a Republican Rift -- Contest for Governor Pits Tea-Party Hero, Clinton Friend and Possible Third Player (By NEIL KING JR., Wall Street Journal) "Virginia will be this year's big indicator of where the Republican Party is going and whether we can appeal to independents and win elections," said one of the state's top GOP fundraisers, Bobbie Kilberg, who is hosting Monday's event and supports Mr. Bolling. 
  • Florida GOP seeks new direction after election losses (By Scott Powers, Orlando Sentinel) Florida Republicans failed to win over independent voters and did particularly badly with the fast-growing pool of independent Hispanic voters.
  • Out with the old, in with the ... what? (Donna Brazille, PhillyBurbs.com) Our two-party system has changed, radically, in the last 40 years. Until Richard Nixon’s “southern strategy” and “positive polarization,” our two parties were basically centrist. But as modern media psychology gained ground in campaigning and winning elections, both parties have moved from the center-right and center-left to further right and left, respectively. Huddled in the middle, and now constituting the majority, are unaffiliated, independent voters.

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